An Ocean View

Leaving my 9-5 programming job and moving to a desk-free, “digital nomad” lifestyle has been the most amazing journey of my life. I’ve had the chance to take in new experiences, meet new people, and see some pretty amazing things, but it wouldn’t be possible if I wasn’t in front of the computer now and then, looking for projects and plugging away at a bit of code. Read More →

Home Office

I’ve been on the road a lot, and it’s not always easy to work in cafes as you dream it will be. There’s that whole having to pay for more coffee when you don’t want another one (to avoid getting kicked out) thing- and after a while, the stiff chairs and lack of power outlets isn’t a huge plus. Read More →

Staring at a Screen

How long have you been sat there before you came across this article? The truth is that most of us spend way too much time staring at our screens all day.

The harsh truth is that even though we love our screens for work, TV, and just messing around on the internet, we have to take steps to make sure we don’t overdo it. Read More →

Facebook has been around for a long time. In fact it’s been around so long it’s making me feel old! For everyone out there using social media to promote their businesses, it’s important to know where to focus your attention on. For example, should you post to Facebook everyday, or should you use Twitter, or both? When looking at the ever growing list of new social media platforms, it gets even more confusing. Seriously, which social media accounts should we use to get the maximum amount of exposure for the least amount of effort? In this post I’ll explore the best practice and give you the answer to the question of where to spend your time online.

Biggest social network to use

Before we look at any new platforms, let’s not forget that despite its age, Facebook is still the leader. With close to 890 million daily users on average, it remains the best place to get exposure to your blog, business or yourself. In my humble opinion it’s also the most fun. I personally can’t not use FB every single day and I know a lot of my colleagues feel the same way. That kind of addiction to a website is important when you’re looking to spread your message.

While I’m always on the lookout for new innovative social platforms, Facebook just can’t be ignored. Before we move on to look at some newer websites, I want to give a very quick overview on how to use Facebook for your business or personal brand. There’s two way to do this really. You can post messages and interact with friends through your personal profile, or set up a page for your business or organisation. This psychic reading Facebook page does a very effective job at communicating with it’s audience. It’s definitely worth studying how they set up their profile.

What’s the next best thing?

The second biggest social network is Twitter, however I have never really liked it. I know a lot of people are crazy about Twitter, but the thing is, I have never been able to really make it work for me. There’s plenty of alternatives such as Pinterest, myspace, google plus, and many more. I estimate that there are about 400 social networking sites out there right now. Which is insane, and clearly you can’t actively use all of them. This brings me to my next point, which is what new platform you need to be using.

I recently discovered a website called Pearltrees which is a content curation site. It is still classified as a social network, but it makes it easier to pick what you like from the internet and put it all on one simple to read page. I absolutely love using this website. I’m currently experimenting on how to use it for branding and promotional purposes. It’s certainly an interesting dilemma – do I use it just for personal use or do I add my business activities to my profile. An interesting way is to separate the two and build up a business page in addition to a personal page. You can see an interesting example of how this tarot reading service used this social platform: http://www.pearltrees.com/onlinetarotandpsychics

Hopefully this article has given you some great ideas to boost your social presence on the internet.

It’s weird how the internet can change so fast. Only ten short years ago, Facebook was barely in its infancy, and most regular people had never heard of the term ‘social networking’. Google only rose to prominence about 15 years ago – I can still remember a time when Yahoo was my go-to search engine.

I feel like the rapidly changing landscape of the web (or information super highway, as it was once commonly called) has made nostalgia set in faster and faster in the younger generations. Gone are the days when 80-year-olds would reminisce about the ‘good old days’ – now you have 25-, or 30-year-olds waxing philosophical about how things were when they were 15. I myself suffer from this problem – while the web is definitely constantly improving in terms of UI and usability, a small part of me reminisces about the good old days of god awful Geocities sites, poor html scripting and hilariously moronic chain letters.

So for today’s blog post, we’re going to get into an imaginary time machine and revisit some of the greatest things about the internet of the ye olde days.

Geocities Sites

At one point, Geocities was the place to go if you wanted to start your own website – it was a free platform where you could put up a website about pretty much anything you wanted. Geocities was unfortunately shut down in 2009, but there are still a few sites out there that are alive and well that typify the absurdly awful UI of this bygone era.

Here’s a Gizmodo article about these kinds of sites.

Here’s a two of my favorites:

Space Jam website

This is the actual website for the movie Space Jam (an absolute classic). I mean, I understand the lack of video – the internet back then wasn’t fast enough to handle it – but even just the design of the website is hilariously bad. Why is there no picture of the cast? Surely Michael Jordan deserves to have his face on the website of his movie. What’s up with the weird repeating background image – I understand the movie has aliens in it, but just from a pure aesthetics point of view, the website would probably look 10x better if the background was just black.

And then there’s this abomination.

I’m pretty sure that anybody with epilepsy would instantly get their brain exploded just by looking at this site. OK – it’s a site about 3D stuff animation or something, but that doesn’t mean that the ENTIRE SITE needs to be a gif of some 3D thing spinning around in a never ending loop. It’s as if for the first 10 years of the internet, people just collectively agreed that terrible design was OK as long as it was online. Even back then, there were ways to make a site that looked reasonably good – but nope, this guy just loves his gifs of spinning 3D models, so he just put them everywhere on the site.

There’s tons more stuff like this in the gizmodo article, and it’s really fun/funny/nostalgic to check out these relics of the web.

HTML Frames
As someone who works in the Tech industry, I can safely say to you that HTML frames were the bane of anybody working in web design in the 90s/early 2000s. For those of you who’re uninitiated/born after 1990, frames were basically a way of putting pages of a website within other pages of a website – a bit like a human centipede of webpages, all linked together via the nether regions. Working with them was a nightmare, and navigating within them was equally difficult. On the plus side, frames are probably where the whole concept of a ‘sidebar’ comes from, and we all know how popular sidebars are these days.

Chain Letters

I remember when I was younger I used to get these absurdly spammy emails from my friends that said stuff along the lines of

“My name is Jenny Macarthur and I died becoz I didn’t fwd this email to 10 other ppl. If you dun fwd this mail to 10 other ppl, you will be cursed and sth bad will happen to you at 12:00am tnite. If you fwd to 10 ppl, sth great will happen to you tmrw. Here’s some proof:”

The email would then go on to list the good things that happened to all the ‘people’ that fwded the email on to ten people. Common scenarios included people getting dream jobs, finding the love of their lives, or winning the lottery. It was a weird time – along with our reduced design sensibilities, it was as if we collectively forgot that lying was possible via electronic communication. Either that, or I just had really dumb friends.

On the other hand, once in a while, a solid, genuinely well written chain mail would end up in your inbox. They highlighted a few of these ‘scary chain mails’ at Play With Death (a great site for wasting time if you like reading about scary news and urban legends and stuff).

Anyways, hopefully you got a few laughs out of our brief journey back in time. Back to boring, useful tech articles in the next post.

Last week, I had a friend over for dinner. A professional welder at present, he was growing bored and felt that he had more potential which was being wasted at his present job. He had come to me for advice seeing as I was faring reasonably well as a self-employed engineer. I have been asked for career advice before so I wasn’t at all taken aback. What I judged from his discourse was that he wanted a job that a) paid well and b) had thrill in it, while also utilizing his experience and skill as a professional welder. After some research from www.weldingauthority.org, I came to the conclusion that underwater welding was the perfect career specialization for my friend. In fact, it is such an interesting field that I’d like to share it here, too, for those looking for a thrilling career.

Underwater welding, more technically called hyperbaric welding, is welding performed at high pressures i.e. underwater. There are two broad categories of hyperbaric welding – wet in which the welder does his job directly in the water or dry where the welder performs his task in a special positive pressure enclosure which is dry. Even though both types of welding take place underwater, the former is typically called underwater welding whereas as the latter is referred to as hyperbaric welding. This specialization of welding has a diverse range of applications such as offshore oil rigs, ship repair and underwater pipeline maintenance. You can see where the adventure comes into this field – working underwater fixing heavy duty equipment using specialized devices and tools makes this one of the most elite and thrilling welding ventures – and my friend, incidentally, was in complete agreement.

Most of the tasks that an underwater welder performs involve work leading up to and following the actual welding process. Normally, the welder-diver must be a certified welder as well as a commercial diver. Those who are already professional welders are required to attend recognized commercial diving schools to learn the specialized underwater welding and diving techniques and their welder-diver career starts in apprenticeship which usually takes no more than a couple of years. Once you have achieved the necessary skill level in dry and/or wet underwater welding and passed the qualification tests, you’ll receive your certification as per Underwater Welding Code detailed in AWS D3.6M.

What particularly thrilled my friend was that he’d be able to make some serious money and he would be his own boss – underwater welders have annual salaries ranging between $100K and $200K and they work on a project by project basis. One of the reasons why I recommended this profession to my friend was because its demand would never run out as long as the seas were used for trade and transit, and there was a demand for oil. He was just 28 years old so he would have no trouble in taking his career further and becoming an engineer or an instructor or even a diving supervisor!

One day when I was vacuuming the home office, I realized how awesome the technology is that makes up a vacuum cleaner. Since I didn’t have much knowledge on this specific technology, I decided to write this post (it’s the engineer in me).

A vacuum cleaner makes the process of cleaning up easy and simple. It comes with unique advanced components and filters, which make it a tool that can be used both at home and the work place. Some vacuum cleaners have the capacity to shampoo and wash carpets. This eliminates the greater human involvement in the cleaning process. Vacuums come in different types. It is the unique and special features that help transform your dirty space into a clean, fresh haven. Please note that I was able to get the information for this post from JD Cleaners. They were nice enough to describe the common types of vacuum technology to me over the phone.

The basics of a cleaning vacuum technology that are available in the public market are:

The Stick vacuums

Stick vacuums are economical and easy to store. These types of vacuums are great at removing loose surface dust, dirt, crumbs and other small particles from hard surfaces and low-level carpets. Stick vacuums come in both cordless and standard plug-in models. The fact that it is optimized to clean certain surfaces makes it the best tool that you can use to reach places like corners and crevices.

The Upright vacuums

There are two major types of upright vacuums. The first is the bagless upright cleaner and the second is the bagged upright cleaner. The bagged vacuum cleaners use bags as a filter to trap dirt. They have a full bag indicator to help the users remember to change the bag. As for the bagless models, they use a series of filters to trap dirt in a dust cup while allowing air to pass through the machine. Nevertheless, they are sometimes messy to empty. Not all upright vacuum cleaners are created equal. You may want a vacuum with a brush roll shut-off if you have hard floors. A manual pile-height adjustment many be essential if you have different carpet heights throughout your home.

The Dry/wet vacuums

Dry/wet vacuums come with a set of interchangeable brushes such as a spin scrubber or a head for grout cleaning. A wet/dry vacuum, unlike the standard vacuum, holds more dirt. It dissolves dirt and debris in the tub. The air that comes from it contains fewer contaminants compared to other standard household vacuum cleaners. They are designed not only to tackle dry dirt, but also liquids spills. It uses two bucket-like chambers that separate liquids and dry dirt. It is the versatility of the wet/dry vacuums that make them superior over standard vacuums.

The Canister vacuums

This type of vacuum allows for you to easily move to different rooms, while the stretch hose allows you to clean hard-to-reach areas. The power head turbine of the vacuum rotates the brushes which lift the carpet fibers, subsequently loosening the dirt, dust, and gravel from deep inside the carpet. This allows the particles to be sucked up more easily into the dust bag. The main weight in a canister vacuum comes from the canister itself.

The Ash vacuums

They are specially fitted with heat-resistant parts and metal housing, which ensure safe cleaning. Ash vacuums are mostly used to clean warm and cool ashes out of fireplaces, barbecue grills, pellet stoves, and wood stoves.

The bow and arrow dates back to ancient times, with one of the oldest going back to 9000 BCE in Denmark.  It was a very basic weapon generally made of wood, with two limbs connected by a bow string, and joined by a riser.  The objective was to pull back on the string which put pressure on the belly of the limbs. The belly was the direction in which the string faced.  At the same time this put pressure on the back of the bow, creating tension.  Holding the string back resulted in stored energy which was released when the arrow was let go.  It was a powerful system that has gone through much evolution since first being developed.

In 1966, a man named Holless Wilbur Allen created a new type of bow called a compound bow.  The bow has a central mount called the riser.  The riser is very sturdy and designed to hold the stabilizers, quivers, limbs and sights.  This invention came out of his frustration at deer being able to avoid his slow hunting arrows.  His objective was to increase the speed.  While looking at his pulley bow one evening, he came up with the idea to position the pivot hole on the pulley, off-center.  It resulted in a much faster arrow speed.

As technology has evolved, so has the compound bow.  Today an advanced system of pulleys and cables make up this powerful bow.  It has come a long way from that first bow which was a crude creation mostly made of wood and fiberglass.  The riser is mostly made of magnesium or aluminum.  All of the energy is stored in the limbs which are made of composite material.  There is usually a wheel or cam on the end of each limb.  The cams are used to keep energy in the limbs.  The four most popular cams are hybrid cam, dual cam, single cam and binary cam. The compound bow today is known for superior speed, accuracy and distance.

The crossbow is another bow that has been in existence for centuries.  It has often been considered one of the deadliest projectile weapons in existence. This bow uses a string to launch arrows and has a stock and trigger.  It looks like a rifle and bow. Similar to a rifle, the trigger releases the string that is cocked.  Early crossbows were made of wood and the string was pulled back by hand.  The feet were usually placed in a stirrup which was on the front of the bow or both feet were placed on the bow to get leverage.  Also a windlass (winding pulley machine) was used to pull heavy crossbows.

Today most crossbows are made of steel and have features like integrated scope mounts, X-cam technology, and adjustable limb retention systems.  They are used more for archery and hunting instead of warfare as in ancient days. These crossbows are much more lightweight and accurate.  This technology stores a lot more energy and delivers it more efficiently, provides a smoother draw cycle, and makes limb adjustment effortless, enabling you to customize your draw weight.  Crossbows today are also designed more compactly for easier transport.

Technology is normally associated with the latest gadget, phone or concept car, but in reality, technology is a big part of everything around us. In this article I want to take a closer look at technology in our shoes and what to expect in the next few years.

Powerlace

When I was a kid my favorite movie trilogy was “Back to the Future.” Last year I was overjoyed to discover that Nike had decided to start producing the futuristic shoe, which it called “Nike MAG,” inspired by the movies. Unfortunately even though the shoes looked the same as the pair worn by Michael J. Fox in the movie, they didn’t auto lace!

Nike has now said they do intend to release the next edition with auto laces in 2015, but another company seems to be one step ahead (if they get funding).

The company “Powerlace” has a working model (seven years in production) and judging by the video it looks impressive. The shoe has no batteries, no gears and no breaking parts. The design is simple when you step into the shoe — the heel is pushed down, and this activates a lace locking system. When you need to remove the shoe there is a small lever at the back to enforce the release.

Considering how long the team has been working on this project and the dedication it has taken to even have a working prototype, I sure do hope they raise the additional money required to take the product into production. You can check out the full video by clicking here.

Hyperfuse

Basketball is huge in China! There are over 300 million people estimated to be playing the game on a daily basis. When Nike sent a team of researches into China they were surprised to find the kids playing the game wearing a pair of running shoes or some form of hiking boot!

Hyperfuse technology is now used in a number of Nike shoes, but it was originally designed to give the Chinese basketball community a light and strong high-top shoe. As with all sport shoes, the biggest weak spot is the stitching, so Nike designed the Hyperfuse material that reduces stitching to a minimum.

Hyperfuse is made from layers of thin plastic material hot-melted together, creating a complete unit instead of the traditional fabric materials requiring a stitching process.

3D Printing

When people talk about 3D printing we automatically think of a future process not yet available to the public unless you are willing to spend a large amount of money on a 3D printing machine.

In reality, 3D printing has been a part of our lives for a number of years, but unless you work within the industry, you probably didn’t notice.

3D printing has started to replace the entire stitching process for sports shoes. If you look closely at any high-end cross training shoe you will notice thin strips of plastic and no stitching. If you didn’t know any better you would automatically think it was just part of the shoe’s design, but in fact these strips are holding the shoe together.

Hi folks,

Over the weekend, I had my mind absolutely BLOWN by my buddy’s RC Quadcopter/Mini Drone. (BTW, for those of you who don’t know, RC stands for Remote Control). These things are f***ing incredible nowadays. I mean, I remember playing with RC trucks and cars when I was a kid, and half the time they didn’t even work. You’d be able to turn left and not turn right, the controls were super gimpy, and they’d break really easily.

Apparently, that’s no longer the case. First of all, most RC stuff nowadays is flown, not driven – apparently ground-based remote control toys/vehicles are no longer in vogue. Secondly, the controls on even the low end models are absolutely insane. Half of them even come with HD cameras so you can spy on that hot neighbor of yours (not that I recommend doing this). It’s insane.

So I was over at my buddy’s house and he had just bought one of these things – I think technically their called ‘quadcopters’, but most people seem to just call them ‘drones’ or ‘mini drones’. Anyways, my buddy bought one of these drone things and he let me have a go at flying it. If you’ve ever dreamed of flying a plane or a helicopter, this is probably the closest you’ll get outside of getting a pilot’s license or paying for one of those ridiculously pricey ‘flight simulation experiences’.

The thing that really makes these mini drones fantastic (outside of the fluid and responsive controls) is the camera. A lot of them even have something called FPV (First Person View) where you can see from the mini drone’s perspective in real time. These FPV models are often controlled by a tablet/smartphone, and in some cases they have controls that can be connected to monitors.
I mean, just look at this video.

So, anyways, after my first brief drone flying experiencing, I’m pretty much hooked. I badly want one of these things. I spent the rest of the weekend doing research and trying to figure out which drone I should get. Some of these mini drones are incredibly affordable, but those ones usually don’t come with great cameras. I read a bunch of guides (here and here. The DJI models are a bit pricey for me. Right now I’m choosing between the Hubsan X4 and one of the Parrot models. Seems like the Parrot is a well-respected brand, but the Hubsan model is supposed to be the best value for money.

Anyways, if any of you readers know anything about mini drones, please chime in and let me know what model I should pick up. I want one with a camera – it doesn’t have to be an incredible camera, but I want to be able to film when I’m flying the mini drone. Price wise, I’m looking for anything under $1000. Let me know if I should get the Hubsan X4, one of the Parrot models, or something else entirely.

God, I love technology =).

There's no denying that modern technology has infiltrated almost every aspect of life. That said, it isn't surprising that it has also affected the world of dentistry. This is a huge advantage for dental patients because they can now enjoy faster and more desirable results when they're having their teeth fixed. Here are some of the technological advancements in the field of dentistry:

1. Invisalign

With this advancement, kids no longer have to worry about being called metal mouth in school if they get braces. Invisalign are invisible braces made from plastic. However, it is nothing like traditional braces because it looks more like a mouth guard. This is worn over the teeth and do not need to be adjusted per se. Instead, new ones are made when the it's time to tighten the fit. Invisalign take half the time to see results compared to traditional wire braces.

The best thing about Invisalign aside from the fact that is invisible is the fact that you can eat practically anything without ever worrying that your braces will be dislodged from your tooth. Of course, there's also the fact that you won't have to keep checking in the mirror in case there's food stuck in your braces.

2. Advanced Equipment for Manufacturing Veneers and Dentures

Gone are the days when tooth caps looked like pieces of rectangular gum placed on top of the teeth. Veneers these days look almost, if not exactly, how a patient's real tooth looks. This is because cosmetic dentists use state of the art equipment to measure and match the color of the veneers that are going to be manufactured. When the dentist is done, he then sends on this information to a dental lab technician who then creates the veneers with the use of modern machines. It is the same process when it comes to dentures.

A dental lab technician who creates veneers in Atlanta has noted that it takes less time to produce  dentures and veneers as compared to how it was a few years ago. However, he also says that prices are considerably higher compared to before. According to this site, prices for porcelain veneers in Atlanta can range from $950 to $1500 per tooth. The plus side though is this type of veneers can last up to 15 years and sometimes more.

3. Laser Dentistry

Albeit much more expensive than traditional methods, laser dentistry is highly preferred by most dental patients because it is quick, effective, and less discomfort is felt after a procedure. Laser is not used in treating cavities, applying filling, whitening, and removing tumors in the mouth. It is less invasive thus allowing for shorter healing times.

4. Equipment that Allow for Early Detection of Cavities

If there is one thing that highly benefits people the most when it comes to advancements in dentistry, it would be DIAGNOdent. This equipment is used to detect early signs of cavities by allowing dentists to get a visual of the parts of the teeth that aren't usually visible. This gives the dentist the opportunity to treat the problem early on before the tooth is damaged. 

Several things make a watch water resistant. First up is the O-ring or gasket that is made out of different materials like rubber, Teflon or nylon. The O-ring seals the joints of the watches tightly, which makes it impossible for water to leak in. The seal is strategically located right at the back of the case, where the crown and crystal of the watch are joined. All chronograph types of watches also have chronograph pushers with their own O-rings.

Aside from the O-rings, the seal is supported by a very durable type of water sealant, which comes in a quick dry formula and effectively staves off water from entering the watch.

Another factor in making a watch water resistant is how thick is the case and the material it is made with. The case’s thickness should be thick and tough enough to endure or resist immense water pressure and will not give way. Watches like the Seik Automatic Dive and Rolex Deepsea have very strict development procedures to make sure that their water resistant watches are built to fully resist water when subjected to deep water diving. Those watches made from pure gold can be built to resist water as long as they have the right thickness.
Those cases that are threaded are more resistant to water as compared to those watch cases that are simply pushed into its place. This feature makes the watch even more resistant to water. The thread-like screw makes for a tight fasten that even air cannot pass through.

There are some guidelines that must be strictly followed by watchmakers like Swiss Legend, that marketing and promoting their watch brands as waterproof is prohibited. This includes those watches that are used in deep water diving.

Different Stages

Different stages of water resistant watches are measured in sea depth measurements. This varies in the depth declared by the watchmakers. However, these are only based on theoretical data. The depth declared is the measurement where the watch should be resistant to water. The depth and water conditions when these are declared are motionless. But in reality, divers who wear water resistant watches expose these watches to various depths and different water conditions and currents. Divers swim underwater in continuous motion and dive to different heights therefore exposing their watches to different water currents in a real dive.

There are watches that are designed to simply withstand water splashes. These are called water resistant watches and are at the lowest stage of the scale. Strictly speaking, water resistant means that water will not be able to enter or even leak inside the watch, up to a certain depth which is stated on the watch.

50 meters water resistant watches can be safely worn by simply swimming in the beach or a swimming pool. A 100-meter water resistant watch can be safely worn by those who go snorkeling in shallow waters. A 200-meter water resistant watch can be used by those hobbyist divers. Lastly, there is the 1000-meter where watches can be worn by deep sea divers. These are built with a tougher O-ring that resists helium.

In my career I worked on some interesting projects. The most interesting ones are always the most challenging. I’m not a great fan of doing the same thing over and over, so once in a while I try looking for a new project or a new client which can give me that challenge. On this website I like sharing those challenges with my readers in the hope that you’ll learn something and can apply what I learned to your own projects.

Last week, we took on a new client that wanted to develop a portal for California residents looking for a locksmith service. This is a unique project that has never been done before so we had our work cut out for us. In this article I’ll outline exactly how we set up this website in the hope that a case study like this will help other website developers and programmers struggling with the same problems we’ve encountered.

To give you a little more background, there are plenty of websites offering similar services for other types of contractors, but not for locksmiths. So we could use similar websites as a guide, but at the end of the day, we were still in somewhat new territory with this new project.

The website we were asked to make is made up of a database which splits up locksmiths into different cities in California. So in effect a new page is created for each city. For example a locksmith in San Jose, California will be on a separate page than a locksmith in Willow Glen. All locksmiths on the website are previously reviewed and need to meet certain criteria. Our job was to develop a system to filter out the locksmiths that did not meet the criteria. Those that didn’t meet the required assessment levels are therefore automatically excluded from being displayed on the website. The reason for doing this automatically is that as the website becomes larger and larger, it may become unmanageable from someone to do all of this by hand. It also ensures quality remains high.

The key goal of the entire website is to help people who are searching for a local locksmith close to them. If a user was to search for a local locksmith in Anaheim CA, they will automatically go to a list of suitable local locksmiths in Anaheim. This saves the user time, especially if it’s an emergency. Because of this, the website needs to work correctly and actually put the user into contact with a locksmith near them very fast. Because the website needs to be fast, we selected a cloud server as a hosting platform. This ensures that wherever the user is, the website will be displayed much faster than on a regular website hosting platform. We recommend this kind of set-up for all of our clients. The pictures and the videos of the website are hosted on a separate cloud server to speed up loading times even further. We’re actually seeing load speeds of 2.1 seconds right now which is incredibly fast for this type of website.

Hopefully sharing some of the details of this project has helped a few of you and given you some ideas on how to improve your own projects.

I was a bit sad this morning when I saw that two more of my good friends had taken it upon themselves to switch careers again. I’ve worked in the computer programming business for a number of years now, but in this climate of highly competitive contracts and low employment, there’s been a general shift in the trend of coders who have started to look for work elsewhere.

There are several reasons for this – first, even though the computer industry is flourishing and there is always a need for programmers and coders (especially for up-and-coming apps, website development, etc.), it’s become a lot easier for a single coder to take on a number of projects, which eliminates the work-pool and available contracts. Additionally, especially where websites are concerned, there are a lot of pre-packaged easy-to-use tools that allow even the most amateur programmer to design and create their own webpages.

As a result, the programmer industry has seen an exodus of some of their best coders. My friends are only the most recent examples. But what sort of work is an ex-coder or programmer equipped or qualified for? Well, it seems that many industry professionals and construction companies are looking for electricians. There is a lot of hands on work involved with electrical wiring, whether it be with big corporate building contracts like office buildings, or more down-scaled projects like residential homes.

I got in touch with my friend to see how he was enjoying his new vocation, and he actually had some good things to say about. First, coding can (admittedly) be a bit of a boring job, especially when it comes to revising and testing – on the other hand, my friend really enjoys being able to work with his hands and move around, and it’s never boring. Every contract his company moves around, so he’s always working on a new project, and gets to coordinate with a lot of other people. I suspect he won’t earn as much as an electrician as he did as a programmer but for him the increase in happiness is well worth the loss in wages.

I’m not saying that I’m ready to give up my career as a programmer just yet, but I was interested by the skill-sets and how well they transfer over. I think there will always be need for programmers like myself, but at the same time, it is a comfort to know that I may have another option if I ever decide to do something different.

At the same time, my other friend has found work as a dialysis technician. He now works with a local clinic, helping people with their dialysis treatment, which essentially helps to clean their blood of toxic build-up that their kidneys can’t deal with. This was even more surprising, because it seemed like such a departure from being a programmer. At the same time, he loves that he is able to work with the community and help people.

We’ll see, I guess. In the meantime, as much as I am sorry to see more friends leave the programming trade, I am really happy that they have managed to find full time employment doing something else that they love and have a passion for.

Knowing the spots where mold hides and the ones where it doesn’t can mean all the difference between a costly remediation process and a cheap one. Consequently, maintenance managers are always searching for faster, more accurate and cheaper ways to detect the mold and its underlying cause, moisture, behind their building’s walls.

Modern enhancements in radar technology have the potential of making current mold-detection mechanisms obsolete, as per ARTI’s (Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Technology Institute) findings. A feasibility study conducted by researchers at Georgia Tech Research Institute used an infusion of water and mold spores on a gypsum soaked wallboard to create a mold culture, and then tested a radar system’s efficiency in detecting the mold behind the wallboard – they discovered that their device was able to pinpoint the areas of humidity (and thus of mold growth) behind the wall.

Victor DeJesus, a researcher at GTRI, stated on record that they were highly successful in detecting moisture using radar.

Radar or infrared?

There are currently plenty of infrared devices being offered by various manufacturers that help in detecting moisture, which could lead to the question, “What’s the big deal about radar?”

Although infrared technology is great for a number of applications, it is bound by one thing – it needs a temperature gradient to develop a good picture. Microenvironments often have temperature differentials, but these have to be clear in order to get detected via infrared. Rather than depending on temperature differences, radar devices use microwave tech combined with mathematical analysis of data to develop maps that detect mold / moisture.

Moreover, the resolution of the image generated by an infrared device isn’t usually as good as that of one taken by a radar device and given proper mathematic treatment. This is one of the chief differences between a radar device and a microwave device. As an example, a 12” square wall stretch scanned with a radar device would result in an image that clearly indicates the areas where mold/moisture is present and where it isn’t. On the other hand, using an infrared camera on the same wall section would generate an image that wasn’t as clear.

As if this wasn’t enough to point out radar’s superiority to infrared when it came to mold detection, there is also the fact that radar technology is cheaper as compared to equivalent infrared devices!

Further enhancements…

While this initial research into the potential of radar technology for generating image maps of mold growth in hard to examine places has shown much promise, further research is required before radar technology becomes sophisticated enough to separate the mold growth from just the moisture alone.

According to DeJesus, the researchers were currently facing difficulty in telling apart a thin layer of mold from harmless water. He further stated that if the technology’s mathematical end was developed further, the problem may be resolved.

Whatever the case may be, it is quite likely that you’ll be seeing mold inspection and remediation companies adopting this technology in the years to come – it will mean a cheaper inspection for them, and by extension, you.

Introduction

The history and engineering of air purifiers is a fascinating story, and one few people know or pay attention to despite it being very common to install air purifiers in houses and buildings in modern society.

Need for Air Purifiers

The main reason or purpose for air purifies is to remove irritating or harmful particles from the air. These particles could be dust particles, pollen, or smoke, all of which have detrimental effects when breathed in. They can also cause a lot of discomfort in some individuals. While the majority of people who use air purifiers tend to be those who have medical complications and respiratory problems, air purifiers are also highly used by those who are health conscious.

The need to come up with a way to provide relief for asthmatics and people suffering from respiratory problems created the demand for air purification and inventors responded with some primitive systems. Today, air purifiers have evolved into highly complex marvels of modern engineering.

The Creation of Air Purifiers

Air purifiers are believed to have been developed as early as the 16th century. The concept of air purifiers began as an air respirator, which was worn over the mouth or nose of a person in order to filter the air. This would prevent the person from breathing in any harmful particles.

In the 19th century, far more effective air purifiers were developed. Some of them were designed to be able to remove up to 99% of air particles.

Although the industrial revolution was a very important turning point in world history, it resulted in severe pollution in big cities. The health effects of breathing in contaminated air were also becoming more understood, particularly by the regular citizen. In response to this, engineers and inventors were pushed to continue their work on different air purification systems.

Air purifiers would later be highly used and further developed alongside the development of atomic bombs to protect the scientists working on them.

Today’s Air Purifiers & the Future

Today, air purifying systems are readily available and are highly recommended for asthmatics and people with allergies. In the modern market, you will find air purifiers that can sterilize the air and others that are designed to trap particles in the air and remove harmful gasses. They are used in both residential and commercial applications.

The future of air purifiers looks very bright even if they might not resemble the air purifiers you see and are familiar with today. For instance, imagine a scenario where building materials themselves have the capability of passively attracting particles and cleaning the air throughout entire buildings. Similarly, imagine a future where road materials absorb the harmful exhaust from cars.

Conclusion

Since air pollutants have continued to increase as populations become more urban, highly effective air purifiers will continue to be required. As always, engineers and inventors are on the move to come up with products that fit the changing world and take advantage of new technology.

References

Air purifier guide (2014), Retrieved from HealthyAirLab.